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Arts & Culture

Cultural animations from around the world tell stories that are brave and true — and often funny

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Cultural Animation Film Festival
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Stories about the environment are big at the Cultural Animation Film Festival. Free showings of animations from around the world begin Friday 10/8/21.

Now in its fifth year, Hawaiʻi's Cultural Animation Film Festival, or CAFF, is growing fast.

Last year they got 140 entries, this year, they got over 1,300 animated submissions. They've chosen the best 74 to run this weekend. CAFF co-founder Michael Q. Ceballos says several factors are coming together to boost the festival's development.

"COVID has, as serious and horrible as it is, it has given the opportunity for people to take time to tell more stories. Who we are, where we come from, and our current situation, we have so many films like that. Animation, claymation, paper cut-outs, you know?"

"It's pretty spectacular. Because normally we would be in the theater, and we would maybe get 500 or maybe 1,200 people throughout the whole festival. But we're literally getting thousands from around the world watching these films."

"So the pandemic has actually allowed more people to see and share stories from around the world with our festival than ever before. And our goal is to share films from people who wouldn't normally have the opportunity to normally share their films."

"Like I say, we have students, we have professionals, it's a wide range of kid musicals to very serious topics. If you look at them, you'll be entertained, but you'll also learn a lot."

All Cultural Animation Festival films are free.

Friday night is lively family fare, Saturday is more serious themes. Sunday is pull-out-the-stops CAFF for Kids with a lot of music this year. Closing night is Monday, with a mix of special long and short animations.

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